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Service gives farmers a voice

Depression.org.nz/rural gives farmers a voice

Federated Farmers is thrilled by the Health Promotion Agency’s, National Depression rural project. In light of the horrifying suicide statistics in rural New Zealand the initiative has rightly tailored the John Kirwan Depression.org website to be more relevant to rural communities.

“The issue of rural depression and suicides has been gaining momentum since we launched our ‘When Life’s a Bitch’ campaign at the beginning of last year, and it is encouraging to see it being addressed at a national Government level,” says Federated Farmers Mental Health Spokesperson, Jeanette Maxwell.

“In 2010 rural New Zealanders were 43 percent more likely to commit suicide than urban New Zealanders. In addition to this male suicide rates have been around 67 percent higher in rural areas compared to men living in urban centres. This is a big problem and we hope this website will breakdown the walls and reach the farmers who are struggling.

“This website features videos and stories of farmers who have experienced depression and includes ‘The Journal’, a free online self-help programme designed to support people with depression. The initiative is fronted by Sir John Kirwan, which will hopefully help provide the crucial exposure our sector needs to get farmers to start talking.

“While Federated Farmers is working with the Farmers Mental Wellness Strategy Group to address this issue, the true heroes are the farmers who have agreed to front and share their stories,” concluded Mrs Maxwell.


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